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What questions should I ask at our first well-baby exam?
Q: We are going to our first well-baby exam. What kinds of questions should we ask?
A: Brittany, your well-baby exams are an excellent opportunity to ask the doctor questions about your baby’s health and development. And it’s very helpful to think about and write down your questions in advance.

The first well-baby visit may occur when your baby is 1 week, 1 month or 2 months, depending on your doctor’s policies. Subsequent well-baby visits are usually scheduled at 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 24 months. At the first visit, the doctor will ask you many questions about your pregnancy and delivery, how your baby has been feeding and sleeping, and your family situation. But you should also be sure to ask any questions that you may have. Consider the following types of questions:

  • About your baby: Were there any medical issues to follow up on from the pregnancy, delivery or newborn period? Do you have questions about your baby’s sleep, breast/bottle feeding, or bowel movements? How about your baby’s activity level, temperament, colic/crying, or thumb sucking/dummy use? Do you have questions about care of your baby’s cord, circumcision/uncircumcised penis, skin and nails, bathing, or clothes? Do you have any questions about safety such as sleeping on the back, bassinet/cot safety, car seats, pets, and smoking? Do you have any questions about immunizations, vitamins or fluoride? What first aid supplies and telephone numbers should you have on-hand for emergencies? Does the doctor recommend any books, videos, or classes on child development, health or safety?

  • About your own and your family’s well-being: How are your spirits and energy level? Do you have any concerns about post-partum depression? Are you worried about siblings’ adjustment to the baby? Do you have concerns that you or anyone else might hurt the baby? Do you have any questions about childcare?

  • About the doctor’s policies: When your child is ill, what are the symptoms for which you should call the doctor? What time of day is best to call? Does the doctor respond to e-mail questions? Does the office have other specialists on staff or working relationships with them (e.g., lactation specialist, nutritionist, early childhood specialist, or social worker)? What are the procedures for calls and visits on evenings and weekends? What hospital do they use?

  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions at well-baby visits—that’s one reason why visits are scheduled so frequently in your baby’s first year. You will want to develop a trusting relationship with your child’s doctor over the years, and how the doctor responds to your questions and concerns now will help you determine whether this is the right doctor for you and your child.